Following on from the post about treating diabetes with a raw food diet and moderate exercise (http://thespiritoflife.co.uk/wordpress/?p=171 ), I received some wonderful news from one of my yoga students. After watching the video ‘Raw for life’ and following a vegan, raw food diet for one month he was able to reduce his diabetes medication by half, stabilise his blood sugar and loose over 7Kg in weight. Wonderful news, as it shows that we really can take more responsibility for our health.
Plato’s Republic came to my mind this week when I read how the Agro giant Monsanto is moving ever closer to controlling what we eat. In his book the Republic, Plato says that if we do not involve ourselves in politics then we will inevitably be ruled by worse ‘men’. For me this means that I can not expect things to change for the better if I do not involve myself in the world of people. If I hide my head under the pillow then why should I expect situations to change when I finally emerge.
Anyway back to Monsanto, producer of GM seeds and Roundup weed killer (remember Bees / Neonicotinoids in the last posting?) has been busy at work. In the USA, a Monsanto sponsored Senator, Roy Blunt, (who is Monsanto’s chief recipient of political funds), sneaked into an unrelated bill wording that will put Monsanto above federal law. It will allow Monsanto to continue selling and growing crops even if there is a suspicion of danger to human health. (read more http://bit.ly/10UC9At ).
In Europe, Monsanto are trying to use a loophole that would allow it to patent common fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli and melons. This would mean that Monsanto would control our food supply chain. It would be illegal to grow these crops without paying royalties to Monsanto. This is the first step and it’s not that far away when even private individuals could be sued or raided by the police for growing from non-Monsanto registered seeds on their allotments.
In the 90′s when India was forced to globalise by the world bank, many farmers went from using heirloom varieties of crop seeds to GM seeds. These seeds work only in conjunction with heavy doses of herbicides and pesticides. Inevitably the soil is destroyed and only continuing use of GM seeds and agro chemicals. Unfortunately when you are poor you can not afford these and many farmers in India (reports up to 20,000) committed suicide.
Maybe we would all become more interested in ‘Politics’ if it was called something else. How about lifeanomics or citizenry. Anyway, what ever we call it, we ignore it at our own peril and the peril of those we care about.
So what can an individual person do to change things? Here is my list of things to do:
Become informed, ignorance will not make issues disappear. Spread the word around to family, friends and colleagues. I believe only when a critical level of people become knowledgeable about an issue that change can begin to happen.
Lobby your government. If you live in a ‘democracy’ you can write to your member of parliament or minister. They are civil servants (and lets keep reminding them). Because we can make our voice heard, we often don’t (a privilege that those living in autocratic dictatorships will die for).
Choose carefully where you spend your £$€. Our spending has to be congruent with our beliefs.
Do not give up hope. Although at times it can feel that you are a lone voice, there is a wave of change happening in the world.
PS you can sign a petition against Monsanto trying to patent our crops on the avaaz.com website.
One of our bees collecting pollen on the oak trees.
British members of parliament, in a cross party audit of nicotine based pesticides (neonicotinoids) have called for a precautionary moratorium that would prevent three types of neonicotinoid pesticide from being used on plants that attract bees while they are in flower. Sounds sensible enough me thinks? the decline of bees worldwide has increased and has reached worrying levels. Despite the increasing view by research scientists around the world, the DEFRA (dept. for the environment) has chosen to allow the use of these poisons. This is quite strange considering it has a policy to follow a ’precautionary principle and approach’ (http://bit.ly/10ilM1T) i.e. if there is ‘reasonable grounds for concern’ then a precautionary approach is adopted. the UK government recently abstained from a recent EU vote to ban these pesticides – It seems to me, they are using delaying tactics again, as every year the sales (and profits) of these pesticides increases ($2 billion in 2005 and increasing year on year).
Argentina used to be the biggest exporter of honey in the world but it lost more than 3 million hives of bees after neonicotinoids were introduced onto Soya crops in 2006. The honey crop fell by 50% and thousands of bee businesses were bankrupted. (for the human cost in Argentina see http://aje.me/10Enp7d).
I don’t know about you but I am getting tired and frustrated by our elected politicians ignoring the feelings of the majority and even their own guidelines, whilst persuing policies that benefit the minority (large corporate interests). Still, I put my name to this petition – please sign – http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/47342 .
Berezovsky, once Russia’s wealthiest oligarch is thought to have committed suicide. People who knew him well say he had been fighting inner demons and had felt a lack of purpose in his life.
For many of us, who aren’t in that financial league we often postpone our happiness to a time in the future when things will be just right – the right amount of money, the right home, the right car, the right job, the right partner etc. We might look at Mr B and say if we had a quarter of what he had we would be happy, but herein lies ’our big fat human mistake’ of believing that something external to us will make us happy.
When Ghandi was asked to sum up his life, he said ‘renounce and enjoy’. Renunciation is one of the keys of yogic practice, but it doesn’t mean an austere giving up of everything ‘enjoyable’ in life. Renunciation, in this context means giving up our attachment to objects and outcomes. We can enjoy the good things of life, but we are not attached to them. If I have a Bentley then you I can it’s wonderful ride and finish, but if it suddenly leaves my life that’s OK too. I can also enjoy the ride of an old rusty bike.
I knew it! I can now drink my ’metrio elliniko’ (medium Greek coffee) knowing it does me good!!
The inhabitants of Icaria are some of the longest living in the world with 10 times the European average of living over 90 years old. The study looked at lifestyle, general health etc. and found that 87% of the over 65′s drank a greek coffe everyday. Apparently Greek coffee, with it’s muddy sediment, is lower in caffeine and rich in polyphenols and antioxidants.
Icaria has also been in the press lately with the story of Stamatis Moraitis, a Greek war veteran who made his way to America. He settled in New York, married and had three children. In 1976 he was diagnosed with lung cancer by a number of doctors and given nine months to live. He was 63 years old.
Stamatis Moraitis – long life and health.
He decided against treatment in America and chose instead to return his island of Ikaria. He returned to his family’s humble white washed home and was tended by his wife and elderly mother. he didn’t expect to live. He would be helped up the hill to the small Orthodox Church on Sundays and spend time with his rediscovered child hood friends, talking and drinking the local wine. Slowly his strength returned and he started to tend the family vineyard and made his own wine. His life was not dictated by the clock, no time schedules or deadlines – life went at the slow Icaria pace.
Today Stamatis is 98 years young, still tending his vines and drinking his wine with his friends and family. YEIA MAS.
The UK government’s chief medical officer, Professor Sally Davies, (http://bit.ly/YnfbPC) has said that within 10 to 20 years a minor infection could become fatal due to antbiotic resistant superbugs. Her solution is to “incentivise” the pharmaceutical industry to produce new antibiotics.
I think we need to stop using a mallet to crack a nut, more creative thinking is needed to tackle this problem. here are some suggestions:
The immune system should be the front-line of our defence against infections. Information about optimum nutrition should be taught from a young age. Good nutrition is essential to keep the body healthy and the immune system effective.
Stop prescribing antibiotics for everything. What about slowing down or even stopping for a few days? What are we rushing towards? A warm bed, some lemon drinks and a couple of asprin might be all that is needed.
The majority of antibiotics are used in modern non-organic animal husbandry. The industrialisation of beef, dairy and poultry farming has created abysmal conditions for the animals. They are often wallowing in their own waste – a breeding ground for enteric bacteria. Antibiotics are given to these animals to counter the terrible conditions they live in. Solution? Eat organic or become vegetarian!
Keep your environment clean naturally. Before the creation of a 1001 products to keep our homes biologically clean, we used things like wine or cider vinegar to clean surfaces. These kill or inhibit many pathogenic bacteria without sterilising everything. We need to have our so called ‘friendly bacteria’ around us (on our skin, in our guts, even in the food we eat) to remain healthy. The preservatives that are in the processed foods that we buy, even in our drinks, will also undermine the natural bacterial ecosystem of the body.
The idea that we continue with our current practices and just produce new antibiotics is a nonsense. Bacteria replicate and evolve to quickly we can never keep pace with them.
I have finished my detox now. I kept to the principle of avoiding coffee, alcohol, all sweet things and cow’s milk products. I didn’t eat meat and I reduced substantially the size of my meals and avoided any snacking between meals. The most important thing for me was cutting out any current news (no news papers, radio etc) and avoiding negative input from any source. In fact I would actively read, listen or watch content that was positive and inspirational.
It was interesting to watch the habitual processes that become apparent during the week such as opening the kitchen cupboard and reaching for the biscuit tin or turning on the computer and automatically logging into some news service or other. How many automatic, non-conscious habits do you have?
It has made a difference. I feel more alive, is the best way of describing the feeling, more vital. During the week, I was more positive in my interactions with other people and I noticed a correspondingly positive reaction back to me. I feel more optimistic.
OK, some old habits are trying to creep back in, but now they are not quite so stealthy. I am aware of them and they seem to have lost a lot of their power and I am finding I don’t need them.
Started the day with some fresh dandelion tea and the juice of half a lemon. I some how equate bitter tastes with medicinal value. In Greek folk medicine the bitter skin of the pomegranite is chewed to cleanse the gut and blood of parasites!
No coffee and listening to John Humphrey’s on BBC morning news. No quick look at the Guardian or Independent online. My isolation is complete!
Time to walk the dogs up the hill.
After my morning chores it’s time for Porridge and pumpkin seeds for breakfast and down to some work on the computer.
Lunch is more of those delicious wild greens. It’s light enough so I can do my yoga practice before teaching a yoga class later.
Supper a light miso soup with carrot, chinese leaf, red pepper and arame seaweed.
Very interesting interview with Dr John Sarno (professor of rehabilitaion medicine) who treats back pain via the mind.
I am starting a week long detox. Maybe you would like to join?
The aim of the week is to be conscious of what we ingest. The Buddhist precept describes it as ‘mindful consumption’.
“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, i vow to cultivate good health for myself, my family, and my society by practising mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films and conversations……. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and the transformation of society.” Thich Nhat Hanh ( living Buddha, living Christ)
This is very relevant today with the news of the European wide horse meat scandal. When we eat a ready meal we have no idea of the impact it’s production has had (on humans, animals and our planet). The horse meat found in British ready meals originated from two abattoirs in Romania. The meat was then bought by a Dutch trader who then sold it to a Cypriot trader who sold it to a French company. The meat was then processed in a factory in Luxembourg and sold around Europe! What happened to buy local?
Small porridge and a dollop of live Greek yogurt for Brunch.
I am starting to make more use of my great pressure cooker. I often use it for pulses. You can not beat chickpeas that are cooked at home for texture and flavour.
Catherine Phipps has produced a great new cookbook http://bit.ly/14p3dKL I tried one of her recipes on her Mum and Dad. Dinner ready in half an hour!
Will experiment with some hearty casseroles – recipes to be posted if they work!